Berkshire Pigs

Whiteoaks Stud

Hi - I am Peter Le Bas of Whiteoaks Stud and farm at Ngaere, a small settlement near Stratford in Taranaki New Zealand. I have been farming pigs since 1957. Berkshire's were my first pigs.

Over the years I have had other breeds but have found under my conditions of outdoor rearing the Berkshire's perform the best. The breed has changed a lot in that time. To keep the breed characteristic has been a hard job, especially after importation from U.S.A. Canada and Australia who have bred away from the old English type. I know markets have helped in those decisions, but to keep the breed character and satisfy the market is what breeding is all about. Some years ago my boars performed well on the National Boar Test against other breeds, and in these later years have had many Champion and Champions of the breed at shows around N.Z. Whiteoaks pigs have been exported to the Pacific Is and Australia over the years. photos of pigs-----More Photos------2004 Gilts-----2006 pig selections----Pagesix

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In the 1970's I intensively farmed 300 sows in crates,but became disillusioned with this system and from the 1980s have farmed the sows on pasture.Many people have criticised the English Berkshire's jowl, but as the old Chinese chef said, if you can not use all but the pigs squeal you should reconsider your cooking ability.
The cost of keeping a gilt to income means it needs to last more than 2 to 3 litters. So at Whiteoaks under our outdoor system we like to keep sows with around 12 ml B F which seems to help them have more litters to spread the costs in getting her to production.

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